Monday, June 18, 2018 • Morning Edition • "At least we're not The Comics Reporter!"

Your Top Modern Characters part 84

Written by Chris Mitchell on Wednesday, April 08 2009 and posted in Features
Top List
Three more for ya...





86. Holden Carver (39 points)

Year first appeared: 2002

I really, really, really need to read Sleeper.

Holden Carver was the son of a military man, James Carver. He followed in his father footsteps and joined the military himself. John Lynch saw potential in Holden and became his mentor. During a mission in South-America, Holden and his team found an artifact that came from the Bleed. Holden touched the artifact and the artifact attached itself to Holden's nervous system. The process killed the other soldiers and Holden was secretly taken back to the International Operations base. Lynch saw a golden opportunity for Carver to infiltrate the nameless syndicate of the notorious criminal Tao when he discovered that the artifact prevented any form of mind reading done on Carver. Holden agreed and left behind his fiancée Veronica. A cover story was set up for Holden: his recently deceased father was officially branded a traitor and Holden had become a rogue agent, blaming John Lynch for his father's disgrace. Holden had stolen the Bleed artifact and disappeared.

Months later, Holden was approached by Steeleye, a high-ranking member of Tao's organization. He was recruited and slowly worked his way up in the ranks. Lynch was the only one in IO who knew that Holden was not really a traitor. When IO dissolved, Lynch asked his friend Cole Cash, also known as Grifter from the WildC.A.T.s to help him bring in Carver. Grifter came under Tao's influence though and shot Lynch, putting him in a coma. Holden saved Grifter later and told him his story, but before Grifter could get help, Tao erased Grifter's memory, leaving Holden stuck in Tao's organization.

A few weeks into Lynch’s coma, Carver's friend Genocide Jones killed Steeleye for sexually abusing children. Holden covered up for his friend during a hearing with Tao. Tao told Carver that he didn't believe the story, but promoted him for his courage. Carver was now one of the three Prodigals, the highest rank within Tao's organization apart from Tao himself. Peter Grimm, another Prodigal, didn't trust Carver, but the third Prodigal, Miss Misery, took a liking to Carver and Misery had a sexual relationship with him that slowly grew into something more. Despite his situation, Carver fell in love with Miss Misery and she returned his love, but Miss Misery's powers were unique: she thrived on evil and was physically strengthened by it. Anything she considered wrong would make her stronger, while taking the right action would result in disease and weakness for her. By having a meaningful relationship with Carver instead of just sex, the relationship was no longer "wrong" according to her and she began to fall ill. During this time Carver was forced to take many illegal and amoral actions to protect his secret identity and he came to rely on Miss Misery for comfort.

During a mission, Genocide Jones was killed and Carver knocked out Miss Misery to prevent her from being killed as well. Tao's troops rescued Miss Misery from the secret facility they were taken to, but Carver panicked and fled, now on the run from both the law and Tao's organization. Tao finally managed to track him down and revealed that he had known about Carver's status as a sleeper-agent all along. Tao argued that Carver now was more at home in Tao's syndicate than anywhere else. He was a survivor, willing to do whatever it took to stay alive, beyond petty concepts like "good" and "evil." Believing Tao and seeing no other options, Carver rejoined Tao's syndicate and continued his relationship with Miss Misery. Unaware to both Tao and Carver, John Lynch came out of his coma.

John Lynch contacted Carver and offered him the one thing he wanted: a way to get rid of his powers. John Lynch revealed that IO had captured an alien in the same area the Bleed Artifact was found. Over the next few months both Lynch and Tao tried to manipulate Carver against the other. Carver formulated his own plan though, he hoped that Lynch and Tao were so obsessed with each other that they would stop noticing him. Carver recruited Miss Misery (though he didn't tell her the full plan) and together they brought down Tao's empire and captured Tao with a little help from Grifter. When Carver revealed to Miss Misery that he wanted to cure her as well, Miss Misery turned on him, telling him that she didn't want to be cured. Veronica St. James, Carver's former fiancée, saw Miss Misery attacking Carver and shot her. Carver returned fire without thinking and saw that he had shot Veronica. Having lost everything, Carver tore out Tao's tongue and had the alien operate on him to remove the artifact. The operation succeeded, but left Carver in a coma. John Lynch used his mental powers to create a permanent fantasy for Carver where he happily lived on a tropical island with Miss Misery and Veronica.

An alien artifact that merged with his nervous system caused Holden’s superpowers. Whenever he experiences physical trauma, he feels no pain and instead stores the pain, which he can then direct via touch into someone else. Enough pain would kill a person without any trace, making Carver an ideal assassin for Tao's purposes. Holden had little control over his power and would cause pain to anybody who touched him. Another downside was that he was also incapable of feeling anything else, though during sex a combination of pain and pleasure could make him feel pleasure. The artifact made his thoughts unreadable to all telepaths and protected him against many mental attacks, though not all. The artifact also quickly repaired all damage done to his body.


morph.jpg85. Morph (39 points)

Year first appeared: 1995

Remember when Exiles was good? I miss those days.

In his original reality, Earth-1081, Morph was a mutant hero and member of his world's New Mutants, X-Men, and, later, the Avengers. He liked to make people happy and, being a shape shifter, he could always be what his friends wanted. After losing his mother, Morph became the character we know now, the comic relief, always trying to make others laugh. On an X-Men mission, Morph became unhinged from his reality by the Timebroker, and became one of the founding members of the Exiles. He was basically forced to join the team, as were the other Exiles, or else something horrible would happen to each of them--in Morph's case, he wouldn't be able to maintain a solid form and would have to be contained in a jar. When he first met soon-to-be-teammate Blink she thought he was the Morph from her own reality, because they looked exactly the same.

He went through many missions as an Exile and outlived many other members, he fell in love with teammate Mariko Yashida aka Sunfire, but nothing came of it because she was a lesbian. He even turned down an opportunity to leave the team and go back to his reality.

After the Exiles gained control over the Panoptichron, one of the first things they did was to return Blackwing to his home reality. However when they arrived at Earth-616 it had been altered into House of M and, as a result Proteus, the body-stealing, reality-warping, evil mutant son of Moira MacTaggert had been brought back to life.

The Exiles confronted Proteus, who took over the body of teammate Mimic, killing him in the process. After possessing several others Proteus possessed Morph, taking total control over him. Since Proteus gains all the memories and abilities of the person he possesses, Spider-Man 2099, another member of the Exiles, came up with the idea to use a mind-altering device to make Proteus/Morph only have access to Morph's memories and personality, so he would think he was the real Morph. Currently the real Morph is gone, but Proteus is essentially the same as the original Morph. If he ever finds out what he really is, he could destroy the Exiles and the multiverse.


84. Tom Strong (39 points)

Year first appeared: 1999

In 1899 Tomas' parents Sinclair Strong and Susan were shipwrecked on the island of Attabar Teru. Shortly after arriving on the island, Tomas was born named after the African American captain of the ship who had brought them there and subsequently died in the shipwreck. Tom was treated as if he was a science experiment and was put into a high gravity nursery to be raised by his robotic caretaker Pneuman. He was put on a strict vegetarian diet that had large amounts of Goloka root. A mythical root that the Ozu, natives of the island, believed improved longevity. But when the volcano that Tomas and his family had built their home upon blew, due to an earthquake. Tom was the only one left alive. Only eight years old Tom moved in with the Ozu. Growing up on the island to the age of twenty-one where in his time he developed various contraptions to aid in the lives of the Ozu, accomplishing this due to his natural intellect on par to his own father. Tom decided to leave with Pneuman to Millennium City where he made his public debut. When he returned he married an Ozu woman, Dhalua Strong. They later had a daughter whom they named Tesla Strong.

The character draws inspiration from the classic heroes of pulp magazines like Doc Savage, along with an upbringing taken from both Tarzan and Superman, an attitude and knowledge (and hairstyle) reminiscent of Reed Richards and Tom mix, and a name that is a nod to Tom Swift. Many cultural threads are represented in this archetypically modern comic book superhero.




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